By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2865

Climate activists target super-rich in Spanish state

An activist from Futuro Vegetal spoke to Socialist Worker
Issue 2865
Futuro Vegetal climate activists stand in front of a spray painted boat

Spanish climate activists target Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie’s yacht (Picture: Futuro Vegetal/Twitter)

From the luxury yacht of a Walmart heiress to the far right Vox party, Spanish climate group Futuro Vegetal is targeting climate killers. 

The group, which is affiliated with Extinction Rebellion, has taken direct action as temperatures soar across the globe. 

Two activists threw red and black paint at Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie’s yacht, which was moored on the Spanish island of Ibiza. After they sprayed the paint, they held up a sign that carried a simple message, “You consume—others suffers.” 

An activist from Futuro Vegetal told Socialist Worker, “The richest countries have colonised and exploited the resources from the less wealthy countries—primarily the Global South. We can see there is never enough for rich people. They just want more money

“The wealthiest 1 percent grabbed nearly two thirds of all new wealth worth $42 trillion dollars created since 2020. It’s almost twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population has. 

“During the past decade, the wealthiest 1 percent had captured around half of all new wealth. The over-consumption of a wealthy minority is fuelling the climate crisis, yet poor communities and young people are paying the price. 

“Such extreme carbon inequality is a direct consequence of our government’s decades-long pursuit of grossly unequal and carbon intensive economic growth.”

The activist added, “It is very important to take action against all these big lobbies and private businesses. We have to demand governments curb the emissions of the wealthy through taxes and bans on luxury carbon output, such as SUV cars and frequent flights.

“Revenues should be invested in public services and low carbon sectors to create jobs and help end poverty.” 

Futuro Vegetal has targeted government buildings and political parties. Last month activists in the group threw paint at a billboard put up by far right party Vox. The poster, which was dubbed “the canvas of hate”, included anti-LGBT+ symbols and denounced the fight for Catalan independence. 

And two weeks ago the group sprayed the British embassy in Madrid with black and red paint in solidarity with climate activists facing repression

“You might think that political leaders could have no higher priority than securing a ‘liveable and sustainable future’,” said the activist. “Is that not what all of us, in every country, need and want for ourselves and for future generations?

“So why aren’t world leaders tackling this very important issue? What has to happen to make this change—that’s what we have to ask ourselves.” 

They argued that direct action is the way forward. One of the group’s first major actions targeted the Prado National Museum in Madrid, with two activists glueing themselves to paintings by artist Francisco de Goya. 

Between the two paintings, the activists wrote “1.5”—to warn world leaders to keep the promise to keep temperatures rising below that figure. 

“Most of the people in our movement are young people,” the activist said. “They ask themselves, why do I have to study if climate collapse is closer than ever? What are we going to do? We have no future.

“We support each other a lot, and we use our love and rage to take action and empower ourselves not to give up. We are living in uncertain times. And yes, we feel the need to put our bodies and minds at action even if we risk being arrested, paying high fines or facing prison time.”

They added, “Direct action is a type of activism that aims to achieve a specific goal—strikes, blockades, sit-ins, and sabotage are all types of direct action. It can be violent or non-violent and tends to fall outside state-approved forms of protest like organised marches.” 

It will take collective action that is mass and disruptive to stop the bosses’ profit system that’s hurtling the planet towards catastrophe. 

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance